Simo Karisalo, Survivor/Victim, 2010
PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY HIPPOLYTE
Yrjönkatu 8–10 (courtyard), 00120 Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 612 33 44, www.hippolyte.fi
Open: Tue–Fri 12–17, Sat–Sun 12–16
Control (&) Disorder
The world must have order; order is believed to create safety. We strive for perfect performances even when order is lost. Photographer Simo Karisalo’s exhibition Control (&) Disorder visits the chilling backstage of anticipation and safety perfectionism.
Karisalo has photographed simulators and training facilities designed to help prevent and rehearse exceptional crisis situations. Control (&) Disorder consists of 25 photographs shot around Finland at training facilities used in the fields of law enforcement, aviation, seafaring, rescue services, health care and national defence. Throughout the series, these spaces appear lifeless and without action.
“It has been exhilarating to investigate these closed territories and find strange compositions in which ‘victims’ await new ‘accidents’. I have not intervened in my subjects but instead captured them in all their natural, uncanny oddness. I have worked by gathering together these mini-worlds created by simulators. Together they form one representation of our reality,” Karisalo says.
Individuals and communities seek order and control in their own environments. We prepare ourselves for potential threats by simulating them: we anticipate the future and practice situations in which order is lost and the ”normal” level of security broken. We thus elevate our fears from mere imagination to semi-real physical spaces and events. Simulators always embody the question: what if everything goes wrong?
Simulators force us to consider to what degree the future can be predicted and controlled. They expose an ideal of a world in which everything, even chaos, has order.
Vast amounts of resources are used to preserve order and to conduct disorderly situations in a controlled manner. Within the field of aviation, for example, events are controlled to the maximum. The minimum requirement is the crew’s flawless performance, even in (rare) accident situations. Everything from opening the overhead lockers correctly to fires and evacuations following emergency landings are practiced in advance. Military training, too, is based almost entirely on anticipating and rehearsing undesired events with the help of simulation.
In addition to catastrophe anticipation, we plan the future on a far more personal and everyday level. Karisalo’s exhibition includes a parallel theme based on the artist’s observation of his own need to control; a delusion that upcoming events could be controlled by imagination. If one assumes it is possible to control the future, surprising situations become unnatural and frightening. The effort to control ends up creating anxiety.
Simo Karisalo (b. 1985) is a Helsinki-based photographer who loves straight lines. He graduated from the Lahti Institute of Design in spring 2011 and works as a photographer and an artist. Control (&) Disorder is Karisalo’s first solo exhibition. www.simokarisalo.com
The exhibition is supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Uusimaa Regional Fund.